Bekal Fort known by the place name Bakel is the largest fort in
Kasargod, Kerala, India, spreading over 40 acres (160,000 m2).
( A shot taken by my daughter Sonia.)
The Fort, almost entirely built with these type of laterite stones carved out from Earth( hardened sand +soil) is standing the test of time for about 400 years..
An important features of this fort are the water-tank with its flight of steps, the tunnel opening towards the south, the magazine for keeping ammunition and the broad and wide steps leading to the Observation Tower which is a rarity. From there one has ample view of towns in the vicinity like Kanhangad, Pallikare, Bekal, Kottikkulam, Uduma etc. This observation center had strategic significance in discovering even the smallest movements of the enemy and ascertaining safety of the Fort.
Bakel (part of ancient Mahodayapuram) has recorded history dating back
from 11th century rulers called Perumals and later in 12th century
under Kolathiri rulers.
The Fort appears to have been built up from the sea since almost three fourth of its exteriors is drenched and the waves continually stroke the citadel. The Mukhyaprana Temple of Hanuman and the ancient Muslim Mosque nearby bear testimony to the age-old religious harmony that prevailed in the area. The zigzag entrance and the trenches around the fort show the defense strategy inherent in the fort.
Bekal served as an important military station of Tipu Sultan when he led the great military expedition to capture Malabar. The coins and other artifacts unearthed by the archaeological excavation conducted recently at Bekal fort is a manifestation of the strong presence of the Mysore Sulthans. The death of Tipu Sulthan in Fourth Anglo-Mysore War in 1799 saw the end of Mysorean control and subsequently the fort came under the British East India Company.
During the reign of the Company Bekal became the headquarters of the newly organized Bekal Taluk of South Canara District in Bombay presidency. South Canara became a part of the Madras presidency in 1799 and Kasargod Taluk was up in the place of Bekal Taluk. Gradually the political and economic importance of Bekal and its port declined considerably. Kasargod became part of Kerala with the state reorganization in 1956.
Unlike most other Indian Forts, Bekal fort was not a center of administration for no remains of any palace, mansion or such buildings are found within the fort. Arguably the fort was built exclusively for fulfilling defense requirements. The holes on the outer walls of the fort are specially designed to defend the fort effectively. The holes at top were meant for aiming at the farthest points; the holes below for striking when the enemy was nearer and the holes underneath facilitated attacking when the enemy was very near to the fort. This is a remarkable evidence of technology in defense strategy.